Extensive research has shown that the gut is implicated in almost every other system in the human body – from the immune response, through to mood – which makes good digestion a vital first step towards good health. Yet we often neglect our digestive system until it starts giving signs that something is wrong.
In this article, I’ve outlined five simple things you can do to help with digestion, and keep your gut in good health.
- Eat mindfully
Modern life often means rushing, but there’s an important physiological reason for taking your time at mealtimes. When you take a few moments before you eat to pause and reflect, either with blessings or gratitude, you are activating the cephalic phase of digestion. Your brain signals the release of saliva and primes your digestive system for the meal to come. Both are key to proper digestion.
2. Chew your food
Chewing your food is an important step in the digestive process – saliva contains enzymes that begin to break down your food and facilitate its journey down the oesophagus and into the stomach.
Eating on the run or gulping down your food without chewing means that you may not be getting the full nutritional benefit of your meal. So slow down, savour your food and make sure you take the time to chew.
3. Boost your stomach acid
You may be surprised to discover that common gastrointestinal complaints, such as heartburn, belching or gas, fatigue, headaches are actually a result of low stomach acid, not too much acid. Many people resort to over-the-counter products to reduce stomach acidity without realising that they may in fact be contributing to the problem.
You can gently boost stomach acid at home by adding freshly-squeezed lemon juice to your water or by drinking one tablespoon of raw fermented apple cider vinegar in water each morning.
4. Get moving
Digesting food is an active process that recruits muscles to help your food move through the digestive system. Your stomach alone relies on strong muscle movement to effectively churn your food during the early stages of digestion.
Exercise will help to improve the muscle tone around your abdomen, which in turn will help move food through your digestive tract. Even if you don’t change what you eat, a bit of daily exercise will help your gut!
5. Drink water
The stomach needs water for digestion, especially for the health of the mucosal lining, which supports the small intestine bacteria for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Lack of water in the digestive system can result in ulcers, indigestion, heart-burn, fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, and constipation.
Keep your fluids up through the day, but avoid drinking water just before a meal, as it can dilute your stomach acid.
Looking for more gut support?
Join me on a 6-week journey to better health with the
Taste Success Gut Health Nutrition Program.